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Free Agency

Phillies Open the International Signing Period by Inking 3

Posted by Pat Egan, Wed, July 02, 2014 08:47 PM Comments: 2

Screen-Shot-2014-07-02-at-12.24.44-PMThe Phillies opened the international signing period this year by inking three players, one of whom is ranked as the 8th best free agent according to Baseball America, and the 15th best free agent according to MLB.com. Arquimedes Gamboa headlines the list of players for the Phils  who signed for $900,000. The switch hitting Venezuelan is a versatile player who can play all over the infield.

Just in case Gamboa doesn’t work out the Phillies signed shortstop Daniel Brito for $650,000. They then rounded out their day by signing left hander Jhon Nunez, a Panamanian who signed for $100,000. The Phillies still have a little over $1.5 million left from their allotted $3,221,800 to sign more players.

The Phillies, seeing a depleted farm system, have been very active the past few years on the international market. Last year they signed the #4 ranked player on Baseball America’s list (Luis Encarnacion) and also signed Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to what was originally going to be a $48 million dollar contract, but ended up as a $12 million dollar deal.

Even if guys like Gamboa, Encarnacion, and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez never pan out, the fact that the Phillies are willing to spend big on the international market is a great sign. The Phillies farm system has been decimated by such trades as the Hunter Pence one, and the only way to restock it is though trades, the draft, and signing international free agents. Good news for Phillies fans, GM Ruben Amaro isn’t planning on packing it in. He’s stated he plans on spending the rest of the $1.5 million on other signings.

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Report: Ruiz Re-Signs with Phillies

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, November 18, 2013 11:51 AM Comments: 68

http://l1.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/ZhEv_rvvl43Yr33bmfneeQ--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTYwMA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en/person/Ysports/carlos-ruiz-baseball-headshot-photo.jpgUpdate, 12:30 PM – Gelb reports the contract includes a club option for 2017.

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Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Carlos Ruiz will re-sign with the Phillies. Matt Gelb is reporting it is a three-year deal worth $26 million. The deal will keep Chooch in red pinstripes through age 37. Ruiz was among the most productive catchers in baseball over the last three seasons, hitting .293/.365/.432 including an All-Star 2012 campaign. Chooch’s 9.5 fWAR since 2011 was the highest among any available free agent catcher, including Brian McCann.

The move comes as a relief to fans who have seen familiar piece after familiar piece of the 2008 squad leave or be replaced. Since 2008, Chooch has continued to grow as a player, going from a triple-slash line of .219/.320/.300 in 2008 to a .288/.371/.434 line since.

We will have more details to follow as they become available.

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Phillies To Sign Marlon Byrd

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Tue, November 12, 2013 11:16 AM Comments: 18

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Welcome back.

The Phillies will sign free agent outfielder and former Phillie Marlon Byrd, according to WIP. The deal is reportedly for two years and $16 million. The 36 year old Byrd was with the Phillies from 2002 to 2005, before a trade that sent him to the Washington Nationals for Endy Chavez.

Since then, he’s played for the Rangers, Cubs, Red Sox, Mets, and Pirates. He made the All-Star team in 2010 while playing for the Cubs. He made an important play in that game–the first that counted towards home field advantage in the World Series–throwing David Ortiz out at second in the ninth inning.

Byrd tested positive for PEDs in 2012 and was suspended for 50 games.

He is a career .280/.336/.425 hitter.

In 2013, he hit .291/.336/.511 after a dreadful 2012 season. He should be an upgrade over what John Mayberry Jr. gave the Phillies last year, but if this is a move that Ruben Amaro Jr. is putting a lot of stake in (like he did with the Youngs last year), I’m not so sure that it’s the right one. There’s plenty of offseason left, though, and a lot of guys still out there.

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Free Agent Pass or Play: Edward Mujica

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, November 11, 2013 07:29 PM Comments: 0

Was Mujica’s 2013 campaign truly All-Star worthy or a mirage with an assist from a top-flight catcher?

It’s time – we are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, namely outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed reliever Edward Mujica. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Mujica, 29 for Opening Day 2014, emerged as the Cardinals closer in 2013 before being replaced late in the season. Mujica first gained notoriety in 2012, posting a 1.03 ERA with a 0.873 WHIP in 29 games after arriving in a trade from Miami. An All-Star in 2013, Mujica limited to teams to a 0.7 BB/9 IP and a 1.005 WHIP.

Continue reading Free Agent Pass or Play: Edward Mujica

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Free Agent Pass or Play: Brian McCann

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, November 10, 2013 05:14 PM Comments: 0

Is the fiery McCann a fit for the Phillies?

It’s time – we are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, namely outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with left-handed catcher Brian McCann. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

McCann, 30 on Opening Day 2014, has hit .252/.329/.441 since 2011, placing him tenth among free agent catchers in batting average, third in on-base percentage, fourth in slugging percentage, and third and on-base plus slugging. Of this free agent class, he ranks among the most durable catchers, trailing only A.J. Pierzynski in plate appearances since 2011 among free agent catchers.

McCann has been an All-Star in seven of the last eight seasons but his stats tell the story of a rapidly aging player. Through 2010, McCann had a career triple-slash line of .289/.360/.489 compared to a line of .252/.329/.441 since. McCann has maintained his power but has lost some selectiveness at the plate, attributing to a decline of 30-40 points in each of his triple-slash categories.

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Phis Re-Ink Four Minor Leaguers Before Free Agency

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, November 10, 2013 04:46 PM Comments: 0

After making strides in 2012, Castro took a few steps back in 2013, posting an OBP under .300 and striking out more in less PA. Castro is being brought back for 2014. Photo by: Jay Floyd

According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Phillies re-signed four minor league players before they were able to become free agents. Right hander Luis Paulino, first/third baseman Tyler Henson, shortstop Tyler Roof, and outfielder Leandro Castro.

Paulino, 24, split time between Lakewood and Clearwater last season, posting a combined 4.34 ERA and a 1.529 WHIP in 85 innings, 73 of which were with Clearwater. Henson, 25, once a highly-regarded minor leaguer with the Orioles, had a fine 2013, splitting time between Reading and Lehigh Valley, hitting a combined .278/.350/.439 with eight homers and 13 steals in 17 chances.

Roof, 24, played 84 games between Lakewood and Clearwater, spending much of the year as Clearwater’s starting shortstop with a combined .254/.321/.381 line. Castro, 24, spent last season as a starting outfielder in all three positions for the IronPigs, hitting .256/.280/.368 with eight homers and 20 steals in 27 chances.

Analysis: Henson and Castro are the big names here. Henson surprised many last season with his reliable bat and deceptive speed for a corner infielder. Castro took a step back last season after a promising 2012, striking out more in less plate appearances after his promotion to Triple-A. Of the four, these two are the most likely to see significant time with the Phillies in Spring Training and have a shot to see time with the club in season.

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Free Agent Pass or Play: Mike Morse

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sat, November 09, 2013 09:47 AM Comments: 34

Could Morse bring his right-handed power to Philadelphia?

It’s time – we are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, namely outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed outfielder/first baseman Mike Morse. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

From 2010 through 2012, Morse was a corner outfielder and part-time first baseman for the Washington Nationals, hitting .296/.345/.516  with 64 homers in that time span. Among players with at least 1,000 at-bats from ’10-’12, Morse ranked 28th in batting average, 82nd in OBP, 18th in slugging, and 23rd in OPS.

So what the heck happened last year?

Well, his year started pretty well: four homers in his first four games and nine homers in his first 30. After those 30 games, however, Morse hit just .199/.254/.30 with only four homers. Morse was plagued by nagging injuries, including a right hamstring.

Morse is a right-handed hitting power threat, though, with career splits of .284/.340/.479 against lefties versus a very similar .280/.332/.470 against righties.
Continue reading Free Agent Pass or Play: Mike Morse

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Free Agent Pass or Play: Kevin Gregg

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, November 07, 2013 02:00 PM Comments: 0

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Could Gregg be in Phillies pinstripes in 2014? Is he still a Major League-caliber pitcher?

It’s time – we are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, mostly outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Gregg, 35 on Opening Day 2014, was the Cubs’ closer for most of 2013, racking up 33 saves in 38 opportunities with a 3.48 ERA, his highest K/9 IP since 2010 and his lowest BB/9 IP since 2010 as well. Not coincidentally, 2010 was the last year FanGraphs rated Gregg as an above-replacement-level pitcher. While fWAR may not be one of the best tools to measure performance by a reliever, it is worth noting that Gregg, since 2011, Gregg was the 155th most valuable reliever out of 160, sitting firmly in-between Phillies fan favorite Chad Qualls (153) and another Phillies fan favorite Chad Durbin (160).

Among the 160 eligible relievers from 2011 to 2013, Gregg was the fourth most-likely to issue a walk, the 28th most likely to surrender a homer, had the 16th-worst ERA, the fourth-worst FIP, and fifth-worst xFIP. Gregg’s 39.9% groundball rate would play horribly in Citizens Bank Park and his 90 MPH fastball, down two MPH since 2010, is becoming increasingly easier to hit. Continue reading Free Agent Pass or Play: Kevin Gregg

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Free Agent Pass or Play: Joe Smith

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, November 05, 2013 11:10 AM Comments: 0

Would you bring Smith’s hybrid side-arm/submarine pitching to Philadelphia?

It’s time – we are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, mostly outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed, side-arming reliever Joe Smith. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Smith, who turns 30 just before Opening Day 2014, has been one of Cleveland’s most reliable relievers over the last three-plus seasons, relying primarily on a sinker/slider combo to get hitters out. Smith averages less than a strikeout per inning but has a career groundball rate of 57% which would come in handy in the Major’s easiest park to hit homers in 2013. One of Smith’s biggest attributes is reliability and consistency: Smith pitched the 17th most innings in the Majors over the last three seasons, with the 18th best ERA, and the 23rd lowest HR/FB%.

Smith gets a lot of downward movement on his sinker that sits near 90 MPH and frequently fools hitters with arm movement that has been described as something between sidearm and submarine. Smith’s biggest red flag is his 3.15 BB/9 IP over the last three seasons but Smith excels in working around the free passes, posting just a 1.160 WHIP in that time frame, just a tick higher than Antonio Bastardo (1.140) in that time frame.

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Free Agency Pass or Play: Matt Garza

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, November 03, 2013 03:00 PM Comments: 0

We are officially in CRUNCH TIME – about 32 hours until the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a player who will be able to sign with any team at that time. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed hurler Matt Garza. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Since winning the 2008 ALCS MVP award, Garza has established himself as an above-average Major League pitcher and above-average may be the perfect descriptor. Since his debut in 2006, Garza ranks 66th out of 245 starting pitchers in ERA, 82nd in FIP, and 83rd in xFIP, while ranking 63rd in K/9 IP and 137th in BB/9 IP.

In the “What Have You Done For Me Lately” world, Garza has fared a little better, ranking 36th out of 125 in fWAR, 34th in ERA, and 25th in K/9 IP, but still 70th in BB/9 IP. The story of Garza seems to be that of a pitcher that has improved since his MLB debut, but at an Opening Day 2014-age of 30, may have maxed out his potential. If you’re OK with signing Garza knowing that he is a number two or a very good number three starter, you won’t be disappointed. If you are looking for an ace, you should focus your energy somewhere else.

Continue reading Free Agency Pass or Play: Matt Garza

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